Sunday, October 25, 2009

Wrapping up the Miller Brothers

James and I finished Either You're In or You're In the Way yesterday. I think James was a little bit sad to see it end. He had mentioned at one point that he didn't know when he enjoyed a book so much, and he loves to read.

A quote from actor Ed Harris on the cover of the book says "What the Miller Brothers have accomplished is nothing short of miraculous. You've got to read it to believe it." Miraculous is not even a strong enough word for this. I told James at one point while reading that if this had been a fiction book I would have put it down a long time ago, probably snorting that it wasn't believable at all. One of the early chapters of the book is called "100 percent luck" and tells of finding out that a friend of theirs has just signed on with the Colorado Rockies baseball team and how many things fell into place because of it, including getting essential video footage for their trailer. Throughout the book one thing after another falls into place for them, even as they lose sleep worrying about getting funding for the movie, scheduling the filming, and hiring crew. One of the last pieces of good luck they have is ending up sitting with a friend of one of the Colorado Rockies managers at a wedding, as they worry about being sued by the ball club. When they tell the guy their tale of woe, it is fixed the next day.

I mentioned in an early post about this book that the brothers do everything together. The book itself is a team effort, and what I found remarkable was that it is seamless. The reader cannot tell where one voice stops and another starts. It is written mostly in the third person, as if there is a separate entity called "LoganNoah" doing the narrating. LoganNoah is very funny and had us breaking up over lines like "...Bao and trusty Claytus immediately jumped in Jeromiah's convertible Porshe and drove 120 mph back to the hotel... "When they returned , Bao and Claytus looked like they'd just had face-lifts. Their hair was iron straight and launched back. They've never looked so young." They make a play on the classic Pogo comic line "We have met the enemy and he is us" with "We needed a solution and the solution was us."

The final section of the book tells of filming in their hometown in Northern California, and the additional headaches it brings because all the friends and neighbors drive by and honk their horns, and then stop to eat all the catered food. My thought was that they probably should have filmed in Bridgewater. We had a film crew here in town last month for two days to shoot a scene from some secret project called "Witchita" with Tom Cruise and Cameron Diaz. Not only were the streets leading up to the filming closed to anyone who didn't live on them, every phone in town (home, business, government) was called with a long recorded message explaining about the filming. The gist of the message can be boiled down to "there's a party in town, and you're not invited." If Touching Home turns out to be as great as the book, maybe they will have the clout to shoot here next time, and they can get the same treatment. By the way, I know of two other movies filmed in Bridgewater A Small Circle of Friends which actually takes place at Harvard, but the riot scene was filmed at Bridgewater State College. The other movie is the infamous documentary Titicut Follies which was filmed inside the state hospital in Bridgewater. It is a hard movie to watch, and was banned for years as a violation of the patients' rights.


  1. thanks for posting this! I'm Jeromiah from the book.

    Have a great week...


  2. I first became aware of Touching Home (although it wasn't called that at the time) when I saw the crane with the lights at the "town" (a post office, a small store, and the bar in which the poker scenes were shot) near where I lived. My sweety and I walked down one evening, watched a few takes of the scene where Ed Harris is brought out of the bar to the police car, and talked with Jeromy for a bit (and I remember shivering, 'cause it was coooold).

    A few nights later we went into Fairfax to watch them shoot the "coming out of the theater" scene there. And, yes, we were quiet, and no, we didn't go anywhere near the catering tables.

    But to your point about Bridgewater closing off everything, I think a good portion of what made the Miller brothers successful and able to film on such a small budget was that they weren't running the locals out of town. We who've lived in that area are used to people filming (there's a lot of film biz in Marin), but Jeromy and the rest of the crew were so friendly and excited about their project that everyone around wanted to help. I remember trying to find a place near the set to get cell phone coverage so that I could call a friend to see if we could get his old truck for a set piece.

    The brothers (and Jeromy) ran their production with a "we're really excited about this, and we hope you'll share our excitement", and that spilled over and, I think, was a good portion of what created the "luck" that let them get the film made.

    It's possible that it wouldn't have worked anywhere other than Marin and the San Geronimo Valley, just because there are so many people who work in film but aren't as deep in "the industry" as the LA area is, but I've now bought at least 6 (I lost count) copies of the book to pass on to friends and family as "this is the energy that comes out of our area!", and have seen the movie several times, because that passion is so infectious.

    I don't think the movie is as strong as the book, but it's still well worth a watch. Especially if you've read the book.